A group of smiling African American students pose during their HBCU campus visit.

Choosing the right college is just one of the many important decisions you’ll make in your life, one that can very well impact your future in many ways. With the high costs of a college education, you can’t afford to make the wrong choice. Conducting a college visit even to those colleges and universities within your area can widen your options and help you make the right choice.

Preparing for a College Visit

One thing you can do to prepare for a college visit is to explore the college’s website, which can help you prepare questions that you can ask the college staff and students. Find out where the college is located, get a map of the school and look for the contact number of the admission office.

Once you have scheduled your time of visit, make sure you get there on time, prepared with a notebook where you can jot down your thoughts about the college. It’s best to bring along a parent or another trusted adult who can help you raise questions to make your visit a more informative one.

What To Expect From a College Visit

A college tour usually includes visiting the various campus buildings, the library, the dormitories, the school cafeteria and some major sites inside the campus that are part of the school history. Some organized college tours include an overnight stay inside the dorms to allow you to get a feel of the environment. Throughout your tour, you may get the chance to meet students and ask them questions about the campus lifestyle.

Ask if you may sit in on a class so as to know the class size and the teaching styles. You may have to sit in on more than one class in your area of interest to get a feel of the coursework. Talk to a professor, visit the admissions office and find out information about admission policies and financial aid.

Tips To Make the Most of Your College Visit
  1. Arrange your college visit during school days so that you can get a feel of student life. You may even be able to sit in on one or two classes that interest you.
  2. If you’re active in sports, take the time to meet with the college coach and find out what type of sports can be played inside the campus.
  3. Check the number of scholarships and financial grants that the school offers. Ask for brochures and other materials that can help you if you plan on applying for scholarship in the future.
  4. Ask for a copy of the college newspaper so that you can get an idea on what concerns do most students have. A college newspaper will also tell you what events are being held during the school year.
  5. Bring a camera along with you and compare pictures of schools you visited to help you decide on which one fits you best.
  6. A college visit can be fun and exciting. Make the most of it by coming prepared and making it worth your while by getting as much information as possible. Choose the best college that you think can help you reach your goals in life. Make sure it’s one that you will be comfortable spending the next four years of your college life in.

This article originally appeared on HBCU Lifestyle